PSF activists support Mumtaz Qadri? Poor reporting by the Daily Times: A plea to Shaheed Taseer’s family – by Shahid Khakwani

It was shocking to read about Peoples Student Federation (PSF), the student wing of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) presenting flowers to Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of Shaheed Salmaan Taseer in Daily Times owned by Shaheed Governor (now being run by Taseer’s family). As the PSF has been holding countrywide protests on assassination of Governor Taseer, the following was widely covered by local and international media.

Source: Daily Times, February 15, 2011

By Khalid bin Majeed

RAWALPINDI: Qari Hanif Qureshi and Ishtiaq Shah, the two clerics whose sermons inspired Malik Mumtaz Qadri to murder late Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, were present with over one hundred pro-Qadri supporters outside the Adiala Jail on the indictment of the killer.

Another dramatic scene was witnessed when a number of students belonging to the Peoples Students Federation (PSF) from the Asghar Mall College also came to the jail in support of Qadri. Representatives of the Jamaat-e-Islami were also present there. The pro-Qadri supporters chanted slogans calling for his release.

The shock of seeing this was not yet over when Mehmal Sarfraz, an Op-Editor of ‘Daily Times’ (employee of Taseer family), started feverishly tweeting and posting on social networks, the undated pictures of PSF activists, claiming it to be taken while these students were presenting flowers to Mumtaz Qadri.

According to the the Editor’s claims, the students belonged to a local Rawalpindi college. However the President of PSF of the college unit refused to recognize these young men and stated that they were not even students of his college! Interestingly when presented this info, the said Editor of Daily Times removed these pictures from social network but bizzarely insisted that her story was verified.

Her claim that “all PSF members are not saints, they might have been there in individual capacity” and “our reporter thought they were from PSF as they wore badges” were certainly laughable but difficult to term a conspiracy.

No conspiracy theories here but when was Shaheed Governor Taseer a favorite of ‘Fake Civil Society’ (FCS)?

The same activists of the establishment’s created Civil Society termed him to be a fascist, a dictator’s plant, oppressor and what not during campaign to restore CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry.

Some of the same faces lighting candles today for Taseer were earlier on, posting his family pictures to give him a bad name in conservative religious groups. This entire activity along with comments of these ‘fine men and women’ of civil society can be found on various blogs including a US-educated FCS kid who has moderating rights on two right-wing blogs Teeth (Imran Khan) and pkpolitics (PMLN) where such pictures were posted.

These very thugs of FCS are now trying to give an impression that the PPP is an enemy of Taseer while NGOs are his allies and the only ones mourning for his death; this despite the FACT that it was a PPP activist, Afzal Chishti, who lead the funeral prayers of Shaheed Taseer.  This while the FCS could not get any of their Jamaat Islami and Sipah Sahaba comrades from the Lawyer’s Movement to lead Shaheed Taseer’s funeral!

Reason is simple. The Establishment and its pet ‘Fake Civil Society’ has always used the same pattern to first kill PPP leaders and then earn dollars from foreign sponsors. The strategy is simple, be sympathetic and praise, isolate and develop hatred, loot financially and kill, and again make money from foreign funders by lighting candles.

But who is the victim this time? It is again PPP and Shaheed Taseer’s family! However,  this time it is Shaheed Taseer’s family which is being  systematically praised and isolated from their party by the establishment backed ‘Civil Society’.  The same thing was done in 1996, when Murtaza Bhutto was assasinated and then his sister, the then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was blamed for his murder.  Intense pressure was build up on her government and another PPP traitor, Leghari was used to topple an elected government.

Shaheed Taseer had  humble beginnings but with his hard work and capability, built a business empire. Those posting their pictures have turned to be great sympathizers of his family. Some of them are their employees and others probably expect financial benefits from the family.

In a society like Pakistan, a change can only happen through political process. We have witnessed failed armed movements as they are not as powerful as the State. Thousands of NGOs has been unable to bring awareness about basic rights. They remain limited to vigils and corner meetings in elite drawing room parlour, while activist ‘aunties’ have to wear ‘sun shield’ to outdoor gatherings . Public perception about these ‘media’ and ‘social activists’ remains the same as in any other society.  What change  have they brought,  except from public displays of faked poverty and even faker english accents!

Sadly, these NGOs and Fake Civil Society survive on dead bodies and scandals! Foreign funders sponsor their activities and buy their well organized but largely false spin in the media without knowing their actual performance amongst the masses.  NGOs cannot be an alternate to political parties.  In Pakistan, NGOs’ burgers and aunties share the same hatred for politics and politicians as the establishment does.

There can be no change unless women become part of mainstream politics by joining political parties which believe in empowering  them. Urban Middle Class ladies, working for international NGOs can only make difference on Twitter and Facebook, not in the real world.

On the other hand, we see carefully written articles by FCS aimed at promoting their own names and their friends names while trying to isolate the PPP and the Taseer family from the masses. The latter  need to be wary of  the con artists around them as it is the PPP leadership and workers have lot of love and respect for the family and for the late Governor Salmaan Taseer. It is they who have suffered along with the Taseer family, while the FCS has used their dead bodies to further their petty interests.

At a certain level ‘establishment proxies’ are trying to isolate Taseer family from their base, using the same tactics of praise, isolate, con, kill and earn dollars for vigils.  When push comes to shove they are nowhere to be found and cannot even muster more than 200 people at a gathering.   Suffering discomfort, imprisonment and injury for the cause of democracy is below them; that fate is restricted to PPP workers for whom these fake civil society wallas have nothing but an elitest contempt!  When the PPP/PSF lost of hundreds of lives in a series of sucide attacks from July 2007 to February 2008 (one of which claimed the life of Benazir Bhutto), where were these FCS! Some of them were actually marching and supporting the same Jihadi murderers in that Lawyer’s Movement!

Shaheed Taseer’s family and sincere admirers must not fall into the trap of these FCS con artists. These Proxies can never be our friends. In order to carry the Taseer legacy, we need to stick to his ideology and his own political party. One day, democracy will have its revenge.

Our message to Shehrbano Taseer: just remember the dream of our Shaheed governor and more pertinently your brave and honest father, “Punjab will be a ‘fort of PPP”, don’t get trapped in the enemy’s agenda. It is a time that we all stick together than to be swayed by those who politicize martyred men.  They did the same with Shaheed Mohtarma and they are doing the same with Shaheed Taseer.  While they were alive, these PPP leaders and stalwarts were cursed and abused and held in haughty disdain by FCS hypocrites who now feel that they can misappropriate the memory of martyrs to earn a few more dollars for their NGOs and budding media careers!

From the horse’s mouth: Candid propaganda by a Daily Times op-editor

“I hope the #PPP knows what the #PSF is doing “PSF students also came to the jail in support of Qadri” . Some members of PSF were present there to support Qadri. Our (Daily Times) rep was there. Students wearing PSF badges were there and he thought it was very odd, so he went up to them and asked them to verify, which they did. Neither the story nor I have said that the PSF leadership All the story does is point out that some of them were there, in their individual capacity. No student organisation or political party is safe of black sheep. our reporters usually don’t file a report unless they verify it. You can double check. As for propaganda, kindly go check PSF at Asghar Mall College and the photograph I linked. We know our facts”

PSF’s version

Contrary to what was reported about the PSF in Daily Times, Humza Ikram, an LUBP team member and former PSF worker, reported the following:

The PSF protested from Gilgit to Karachi. Only reason you won’t find their voices it just becoz PSF is not in elite universities which remain dominated by pro-Imran Khan, pro-Iftikhar Chaudhry, urban FCS.

The only protest in Lahore on Taseer’s murder I could recall was a great show by the PSF students in the Punjab University. You won’t find similar in LUMS, FAST, LSE etc.

PSF Azad Kashmir and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa managed big protests against Taseer assassination.

The official PSF blog is full of praise for Taseer and condemnation of Qadri:

Here are some of numerous news reports on PSF Protests across the country.

Did Daily Times publish this story from D.G.Khan?

On the contrary, from a remote rural town of D.G.Khan, the following and several similar stories from other non-urban areas, hardly get published in the urban-centric (FCS and Jamaat Islami dominated) media of Pakistan:

PSF students in D.G.Khan in support of shaheed Taseer

PSF students protest against Taseer murder

January 06, 2011

DERA GHAZI KHAN: Youths of People’s Students Federation (PSF) Thursday staged a protest demonstration with Bahaud Din Zakariya University’s Dera Ghazi Khan campus shut down against the killing of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. PSF students protested in front of Bahaud Din Zakariya University campus at Government Degree College here. Protesting students said Governor Taseer’s murder is a conspiracy against the country, which needs to be uncovered. On this occasion, student leaders announced to boycott educational institutions for three days in mourning over Governor Taseer’s killing.

Source: SAMAA

The Daily Times story which talks about PSF students visiting Mumtaz Qadri in jail is tantamount to misrepresenting and twisting. Daily Times should check the background of their reporter Khalid bin Majeed, who seems like the DT version of Jang Group’s Saleh Zaafir and Ahmed Noorani.

Let’s hope Daily Times will offer an apology or explanation.

It is sad to see shaheed Taseer’s own paper being hijacked by the FCS which is  publishing twisted, false and unverified reports on the PSF.  (e.g., the fake interviews of Bramdagh Bugti that were supposedly conducted by the Daily Times but which were exposed as fake by Baloch Hal.)

These  editors are getting paid, yet they are  advising the readers to ‘go, verify yourself’?  Is there no limit to intellectual dishonesty.  With the FCS, I guess not!



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